Fukuoka Ryokan – A dynamic port city located in Japan’s brash and unapologetic southernmost main island, Fukuoka is Kyushu’s world-class destination. As a cosmopolitan and entrepreneurial capital, the city has made strides in innovation through government-sponsored programs that encourage young entrepreneurs to settle their business enterprise in the city; making it Japan’s second most competitive startup location, after Tokyo. As such, Fukuoka is brimming with young, smart, and talented people.
Fukuoka’s dynamism was made official when the city was selected as one of Newsweek’s ‘10 Most Dynamic Cities Worldwide’ as well as number 17 in Monocle magazine’s ‘Top 25 Most Liveable Cities.’ As Kyushu’s largest city, Fukuoka is also an entertainment capital filled with cultural innovation and well-deserved, self-confidence. The city’s Hakata district is perhaps Japan’s second most vibrant entertainment district, after Tokyo’s famed Shinjuku. The district is also famous for a string of J-Pop idols that started a national craze in the 1980s.
Even so, the city still retains a fiery historic spirit through the temples and shrines located throughout the city and prefecture of the same name. This includes Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, a striking example of Fukuokan architecture which enshrines the god of learning, devotion and good luck. In recent years, Fukuoka has also become one of Japan’s most popular destinations among Asian visitors from South Korea, Taiwan, and China, with over 2 million visitors annually. Even so, the city remains relatively under the radar to most Western and non-Asian travelers.
With all this excitement and atmospheric energy beaming out of Fukuoka, the city offers a selection of amazing ryokans located in the surrounding mountains or skirting the city itself. These ryokan serve as the perfect reprieve from the city’s hustle and bustle! For this article, we’ve also included ryokans located in nearby Saga prefecture, due to the famed onsen located in the area just 20 km from Fukuoka City, as well as a unique offerings set on a beach a few kilometers down the coast from the city.
Before to start to check out the list of the best ryokan in Fukuoka, you can read this blog post if you are unfamiliar with the Japanese traditional inns: What is a Ryokan.
Fukuoka Ryokan #1 – Daimaru Besso
This quintessential Fukuoka ryokan features world-class service and an elegant Japanese garden. Established in 1865, Daimaru Besso enjoys three main buildings designed in a traditional Japanese-style with 40 Washitsu or Japanese-style guestrooms. Rooms in the ryokan’s Taishotei building offer views of the elegant Japanese garden; while guestrooms in the ryokan’s two other structures feature attractive views into the surrounding mountain wilderness (which is also carefully tended to offer great views!).
Guestrooms are in traditional Japanese style, complete with elegant tatami flooring and sliding Shōji paper doors with maple wood framings. The ryokan’s popular hot spring bath serves as the perfect way to relax and unwind. Complete with a tea lounge, esthetic room and a karaoke bar, Daimaru Besso is the perfect destination for couples wanting that extra special something. Daimaru Besso is also Fukuoka’s top guest-rated ryokan, offering 5-star accommodations which makes it the only ryokan in Fukuoka to attain this distinction.
The property is located in Chikushinoshi, adjacent to the mountain park of the same name and perfect for hiking and exploring. The park is dotted with graceful Japanese temples and shrines including Buso-ji Temple. In addition, Fukuoka’s striking Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is located a 20-minute drive away. This is Fukuoka’s most traditional ryokan style accommodation and its most elegant and inviting.
Fukuoka Ryokan #2 – Zen–Oyado Nishitei
Conveniently located just a stone’s throw from Hakata Station, Zen-Oyado Nishitei is an oasis of calm and relaxation within the busy city. This Fukuoka ryokan is perfect for individuals and couples who wish to enjoy a ryokan-style experience, but may not have the time to venture into some of Japan’s more rural destinations.
Zen–Oyado Nishitei is located just an 18-minute walk from Sumiyoshi Shrine and its elegant wooded park, prominently centered amidst the city’s busy thoroughfares. In addition, the ryokan is also located just 1.9 km from Kego Shrine and Park.
Zen–Oyado Nishitei is situated in a charming traditional Japanese-style house and features elegant and carefully selected design treatments meant to enhance the overall experience. Zen and invigorating design that is smart and yet accessible is present throughout. The result is an overall experience that guests can’t seem to get enough of, due to its popularity and top-reviewed rating. Located within an urban house setting, this particular ryokan will feel like a home away from home. Experience your own slice of the Zen life and leave feeling invigorated and inspired at Zen–Oyado Nishitei.
Japanese Traditional Inn in Fukuoka #3 – Suginoya
Located just 20 km from Fukuoka city, Suginoya is located in Saga’s Furuyu Onsen District. Suginoya is the quintessential ryokan for Furuyu Onsen, a popular day-trip destination from Fukuoka, and is thus the most luxurious and well-served accommodation in the area.
The ryokan is situated on the slope of a steep mountainside which grants it wraparound vistas of the grand, lush, green mountain landscape. These vistas take on special significance with the elevated open-air, hot spring baths available in every suite. Guestrooms are complete with tatami floors and sitting areas separated by Shōji paper sliding doors. Newly revamped rooms feature a modern design aesthetic that highlight a fresh take on Japanese design. Complete with diffused lighting features and textured walls in grey fabric, rooms are endowed with an understated dynamism that is uniquely Japanese.
Private onsens set on open terrace offer breathtaking opportunities for renewal. The private hot spring baths and balconies are all designed and built with sumptuous, elegant woods that add an aromatic quality through the wood’s natural features. Within the ryokan, open-air pathways are accommodated with polished hardwood floors surrounded by a graceful garden which forms the central core of the ryokan’s inner courtyard. The garden of Suginoya is accentuated by a koi pond that frames the elevated pathways in a graceful and satisfying arrangement.
Suginoya’s unique and sublime setting, nestled on the mountain slope (most ryokan are located in valleys), and its superior attention to design and service, make it one of the region’s most enticing destination ryokans. While visiting the area, this is the place to look out for.
Fukuoka Ryokan #4 – Kakureisen
Also located in neighboring Saga prefecture, Hakureisen is located a mere 2-minute walk from Duruy Onsen. The ryokan is stylish and refined in its approach to décor and makes the best use of traditional design elements to make a powerful, aesthetic statement.
Rooms are decorated in a variety of moody and atmospheric color palettes meant to evoke a passionate and engaging atmosphere. Kakureisen may embody the Japanese notion that Fukuokans and more particularly Kyushuites, are the county’s most impassioned people.
Rich, dark black with chocolate undertones, dark olive green or deep red hues, white walls and the tan color of Sugi lumber, add elegance and dynamism to guest suites. If this decorative scheme proves too powerful for your color sensibilities, guest suites also come in a more muted color palettes that highlight the tan and textured wood in ways that are no less atmospheric. Kakureisen guestrooms’ also feature floor to ceiling windows that extend the length of the room.
Private baths in guestrooms feature large soaking tubs complete with open-air views of the mountain scenery, as well as wide windows that are elegant and attractive. Come nightfall, the outside garden is illuminated with an array of color lights which endow the scene with an enchanting presence. All of which can be enjoyed while soaking in the stylish open-air bath. The garden is also home to white-feathered cranes which, along with the pink, blue, green and purple lights, enhance and elevate the garden into an almost surreal space for visual enjoyment. A space which can also be enjoyed from the ryokan’s dining lounge. The food and kaiseki dinner options are also excellent; at Kakureisen, you simply can’t go wrong.
Japanese Traditional Inn in Fukuoka #5 – Nansuikaku
Charming and relaxing, Nansuikaku’s sensuous ambiance greets guests from the very moment they approach this chic ryokan destination in Fukuoka.
A winding path complete with a crimson red carpet leads guests through the ryokan’s enchanting grounds. Completed in 2015, Nansuikaku recently underwent a full renovation in a modern and traditional Japanese style. Newly renovated rooms have also been designed in a Western-style with raised beds, while still enjoying tatami flooring. Spaces are vast and open, warm and inviting.
Nansuikaku also boasts several indoor and outdoor hot spring baths, as well as a massage salon and entertainment facilities. The ryokan’s large open-air hot spring baths offer views into the lush, green garden, making it the perfect place for relaxation. The ryokans large semi-covered soaking tubs made of cedar enjoys unique design features, this includes a giant sake barrel from which warm water flows. Indoor pools also feature unique design arrangements meant to allude to the outdoors and nature.
In addition, private baths that bestow rewarding views of the surroundings are available in each guestroom. Elegant kaiseki meals offering the best of the sea, as well as a Japanese hardy breakfasts are also available. Nansuikaku ryokan is popular among families and groups of friends, so be sure to book in advance as this is Fukuoka’s most popular ryokan-style destination.
Fukuoka Ryokan #6 – Shioyu Naginoto
For our final Fukuoka ryokan, we extend a little further down the coast into Saga prefecture, to the beachside town of Karatsu, where a unique ryokan awaits your arrival.
Why include Shioyu Naginoto on our list? Well, its polished and sophisticated design, beachfront setting as well as an outstanding hot spring pool is reason enough. The pool itself is unique in its expansive size which offers infinity views of the beach, a particularly special feature of this chic ryokan.
Guests are greeted through a path fringed by bamboo which hides the ryokan’s main building from the outside. The entrance takes on an enchanting beauty come nightfall through the small lanterns that guide guests towards the entrance as well as the bamboo illumination which creates an otherworldly, magical aura about the property.
Shioyu Naginoto’s kaiseki meals are particularly delicious; innovative dishes that blend Western ingredients into new flavors that will satisfy any palette. It’s no wonder the ryokan’s cuisine receives rave reviews from guests!
Once you’ve enjoyed the open-air bath, Shioyu Naginoto serves delectable cocktails in its stylish bar and lounge, perfect for couples who wish to convene and enjoy each other’s company. Through its many perks, as well as its close proximity to Fukuoka City, this elegant ryokan is a convenient destination when traveling through the prefecture, located just on the border of Fukuoka and Saga prefectures. In addition, this is the perfect romantic destination for couples. The ryokan also has guestrooms which are just as tranquil as well!
Fukuoka is more than just a business destination. Sharp, distinguished and with an eye for the future, the city is a vibrant, urban gem. Its proud entrepreneurial chi has lent the city a one-of-a-kind persona which is vibrant and vigorous, yet graceful and warm. This fiery and enigmatic personality offers a special taste of Japanese culture which must be experienced to truly understand the country’s singular dynamism.
After all, Fukuoka has always been at the heart of Japanese entrepreneurialism; as the original home of some of Japan’s most famous, internationally-renowned corporations. While Tokyo might be the head of Japan’s enterprising spirit, and Osaka the heart, Fukuoka is the country’s very own two feet!
‘Ishoni iki masho’, or let’s get going!